The long-awaited African Scholars Program exchange trip to Senegal and The Gambia has happened! A group of seven students and three advisors left ARHS on February 5 and returned on February 25. They shared their experiences and research projects with the community in the ARHS library on April 3. The photo below shows the exchange group with their Senegalese hosts. To read an article about the trip from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, click here.
After a wonderful week in The Gambia, the African scholars have made a two-day journey back to Dakar, stopping on the way to visit Juffureh (site of Alex Haley’s Roots), Joal-Fadiouth (a majority Christian village built on a man-made shell island), and the Bandia Nature Reserve (home to rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and many other interesting animals). Students are back with their Senegalese host families. We have one more outing tomorrow, then fly home late, late Sunday night, returning to Amherst midday Monday.
We arrived in Gunjur, The Gambia, late Tuesday night, and spent the day Wednesday touring the village, having lunch at Momodou Sarr’s family compound, and getting to know host families. Today, Thursday, we visited Sifoe Senior Secondary School and attended a variety of classes. At the end of the day, each member of the group planted a lime tree on the school grounds as part of the agriculture program.
This picture was taken at the Parc Zoologique, near our partner school in Dakar, Cour Sainte Marie de Hann. We all saw some real lions and many other African animals there.
The students are really enjoying their hosts and visiting classes in the school. Today they made a presentation about Amherst to two large groups of students, and the students asked lots of questions about our school and America.
While sampling authentic Senegalese cuisine at a restaurant in downtown Dakar, we were treated to a performance by a griot on the kora. He sang about each person by name, a great honor for us. It was a great experience, as was the food (even though some of us were a bit squeamish about fish being served with the head and tail still attached). Vegetarianism is bit of a mystery to most people here, but we’re managing to accommodate everyone’s diet.
Tomorrow we leave for The Gambia for an eight-day stay there – we will be in a village, not a big city, so the experience will be quite different.
Thank you for helping us make the exchange program a reality!
African Scholars Program teachers, students, and parents have been conducting a variety of fundraisers to support the exchange trip to Senegal and The Gambia in 2013. The goal was to provide a total of $10,000 in partial scholarships to students whose families could not otherwise afford $3,500-per-student cost and to subsidize other aspects of the trip. The chart at the right shows how much we have raised. We wish to thank the Amherst community for supporting our efforts.
Here are some of the projects we have been working on:
- Sale of African Scholars Program mugs.
- African lunches for ARHS staff, courtesy of David Jean and the Culinary Arts program.
- Grant applications to local and regional organizations.
- An African Dinner and Film Night on March 15, 2012.
- Sale of green products from Koru Fundraising.
- Another African Dinner and program on June 14, 2012, and yet another dinner on January 17, 2013!
In addition to these efforts, students have organized their own fundraisers at school to provide school supplies for needy students at our host schools.
The African Scholars Program will host a community event in the spring of 2013 to share research projects and photos from the exchange trip. We hope you will join us for this celebration! Thank you again for your support of the program.
Click on the link below to see the PowerPoint slides presented at the student/parent meeting on November 1.
The last chapter of the novel relates the story of a mermaid caught by a fisherman. Like the novel, the story has multiple outcomes. In your response, please discuss the themes of the mermaid story and show how they connect to specific events in Ayodele’s life. Use quotes if possible. This posting is due by Sunday, May 20.
Hello, African Scholars,
Please use this blog site to post your comments on Reading the Ceiling, Prologue and Part One. Please reflect on and connect with the novel. The main character is close to your age. What do you have in common with her? In what ways is her life quite different from yours? How do her thoughts compare with your thoughts? Her potential futures with yours? The original assignment sheet, which has more suggestions, is attached here: Reading the Ceiling Assignments 2. Your first comment is due April 29, and the second, on Parts Two and Three, on May 13.
The African Scholars Program at Amherst Regional High School will present an African Dinner and Film Night on Thursday, March 15, at 5:30 p.m. in the high school library and cafeteria. The program is a benefit for the group’s planned student exchange in West Africa.
The evening will include a sumptuous home-made meal using authentic West African recipes and a free screening and follow-up discussion of Senegalese filmmaker Sembene Ousmane’s Mandabi, the story of a man with a money order he can’t cash because he has no identity in the postcolonial bureaucracy.
The menu will offer a choice of entrees, vegetarian mafe or chicken yassa, with white rice. Beverages will include bouye and bissap (made from baobab and hibiscus, respectively) as well as ataya, a special tea brewed and poured with great fanfare. The principal chefs will be African Studies Program directors Oumy Cisse-Deme, a French teacher and naïve of Senegal, and Momodou Sarr, a special education teacher and native of The Gambia.
The goals of the African Scholars Program are to infuse African studies into all parts of the high school curriculum and to establish an ongoing exchange program with secondary schools in Senegal and the Gambia. The group’s fundraising activities will support students who cannot afford the full cost of the exchange as well community service projects in Africa.
The event is open to the community, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students; preferred seating and a souvenir mug are available with an additional $10 contribution. Tickets can be reserved by e-mailing Bruce Penniman at email@example.com or by calling 413-253-2669.